Central African Republic Travel Information
- Bangui safety
- CAR: visa on arrival
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Travel safety in the Central African Republic is a major concern for all visitors. Due to its extreme poverty and history of political violence, large parts of the Central African Republic are not safe places to travel. The British Foreign Office has issued a travel warning for the south-east and north of the country where the Lord's Resistance Army is active, and also advises against all non-essential travel in the west of the country. Motorists and travellers in any of these parts of the country are vulnerable to attacks from groups of armed bandits and rebels.
The south of the Central African Republic, in and around the capital, Bangui, is somewhat safer, although foreigners remain frequent targets for muggings and robberies. Visitors are advised to stay in groups, not wear flashy jewellery or carry big bags, and always carry identification. At night it is always advisable to use cars instead of walking anywhere.
Protests and demonstrations in Bangui easily become violent, so visitors should avoid any large groups and gatherings. As a result of occasional violence during protests and demonstrations there are often curfews in place in the capital city, so it's necessary to check up on current curfews and regulations on arrival in the city.
Local customs and culture in the Central African Republic are split between the relatively equal Muslim and Christian populations, so conservative dress is a good idea in all areas, including covered thighs and shoulder for women. In rural areas it is customary for people to eat with their hands, but one should never eat, shake hands, or offer someone money with their left hand. Always ask permission before photographing a military or government building.
Travellers to the Central African Republic are allowed the following: five bottles of alcohol and five bottles of perfume. Men may import up to 1,000 cigarettes or cigarillos/250 cigars/2kg of tobacco, while women may only bring cigarettes. Firearms must be declared. All animal skins and diamonds must be declared on departure.
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